Doctor Who: Season 16, Episode 5

The Pirate Planet: Part One (30 Sep. 1978)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 194 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 4 critic

In seeking the second segment of the Key to Time, the TARDIS heads for an icy world but lands on a populated planet that shouldn't be there.



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Title: The Pirate Planet: Part One (30 Sep 1978)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Bruce Purchase ...
Andrew Robertson ...
Ralph Michael ...
David Sibley ...
David Warwick ...
Primi Townsend ...
Clive Bennett ...
Bernard Finch ...
Adam Kurakin ...
John Leeson ...
K9 (voice)


Continuing their quest for the Key to Time, the Doctor, Romana and K-9 travel to the cold planet Calufrax, but the TARDIS lands somewhere else instead - right time, right place, but wrong planet. It's a curious world ruled with an iron fist (somewhat literally) by the cybernetic space pirate known as The Captain and littered with the rarest gemstones in the galaxy. As the Doctor tries to get an accurate sense of the place (and find Calufrax), one of the planet's younger citizens, suffering nightmares of a sort, becomes the target of a group of monk-like telepaths. Written by Daniel Williamson / revised by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

30 September 1978 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode was watched by 9.1 million viewers on its original transmission. See more »


K9: Suggest you allow Mistress to make contact.
The Doctor: Nonsense! Making contact with an alien race is an immensely skilled operation. It calls for tact and exper... What would SHE know about it?
Romana: [in background making contact] Hello. Excuse me...
K9: She is prettier than you, Master.
The Doctor: [nonplussed] Is she?
See more »


Referenced in 'Doctor Who': The Pertwee Years (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

it's Douglas Adams, how can you NOT see it?
4 June 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If you're any stretch at all of a fan of Douglas Adams or his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, you're either already a fan of Dr. Who or may come across this episode at some point or another. It's actually a great place to start for a (relative) newcomer to the original series, as the story gives a strong combination of the humor, camp, pathos and excitement that Doctor Who provides at its finest. So hopefully this is the "some point".

As someone who's only seen two or three episodes of Dr. Who- both 'old' and 'new'- this is top of the crop. Adams gets how to make it an interesting mystery for the good Doctor Tom Baker to figure out the problem of Calufrax with the section of the key of time they need. It's got some hilarious moments and lines of dialog that are quintessential Adams ("Plank. Theory: simple. Walk along it. Come to edge. Fall off 1000 feet. Die!"), and some cool looking creatures, and of course the Captain, who kicks ass as a dastardly Dr. Who villain.

Must, must see, all four parts of course.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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